Big visionaries behind small businesses share their insights and experiences in this series. Learn how to share your brand story here.
Last year's realization that I didn't know if I'd been hitting any New Year's Resolutions at all, and my subsequent vow to declare it and update it proved effective. I actually know how I did this year - what I did accomplish, and what I didn't. Therefore, for 2017, I am bringing over any resolutions in 2016 that I did not hit, and adding new ones.
I do have one kicker for 2017: I'm pregnant! With No. 3. While that was a little scary to say the first time, and if you've read my previous Diary of Small Business entries, you'll see why, I'm not as scared anymore. Ever since I declared to myself that this is a "pregnancy on my terms." Which means that I'm doing what I need to. Like not putting off buying clothes I need or want, and not beating myself up over snow-days throwing my schedule. For example, as I type this, my son is home for a sick day, and we are taking turns playing a video Nerf Blaster on my iPhone. This article was the 1st on my list today, and it's ok that it's 2:20pm and it's getting finalized.
Things have changed since my first pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I had 2 businesses and 2 business partners in one of them. Today, I have 2.5 businesses, no business partners, and 1.5 of those businesses are radically different, and I seek input and feedback from my team, Tin Shingle members and clients as I grow the businesses. Additionally, since my first pregnancy, the web design landscape has changed significantly, making design much more fun and integrated with clients and customers.
Without further ado, here are my 2017 Resolutions!
When we moved into our home seven years ago, it was "move-in-ready." The previous owners had staged it with muted colors of paint. I'm a loud paint color kind of girl, yet I've not repainted any rooms. Except for my daughter's room, which is robin's egg blue - gender neutral color - because my husband didn't want to know the gender until after the birth, so I had to decorate in gender neutral. Here's what is changing:
- My Kids Rooms: I'm going to nursery both rooms, since this baby is going to move into one of them. I want my kids to feel special and individual when someone else comes into their worlds.
- The Rest of the House: It is time to stamp some personality onto these walls. I just finished painting my old home office since moving out of it and into a storefront office on Main Street. It's the sunroom, and it's dark brown, for a lovely contrast between sun and dark walls! I'm also going to scrape up the adhesive carpet tiles and discover the wood underneath, then will paint the floor. Rest of the rooms to come with colors, including my bland dressing room (we have no closets) which will become Benjamin Moor's Color of the Year Deep Shadow Purple.
Alright, so 2016 was a flop for this. I've since done the math on this for what I need to contribute monthly in order to max out the amount aloud per year for taxes. While that is too high right now, I can at least do a smaller number monthly and set it on auto-deposit.
Refinance Mortgage and Eliminate PMI
Each year, true to promise, Quicken Loans calls to try to lower our interest rate and cut the PMI we pay on our mortgage. We have refinanced once, and came close to doing it again, but two factors get in the way:
- Either the house appraises just shy of being enough above our purchase price (which happens because we didn't update the kitchens and bathrooms, which give you bonus points), or...
- Credit score needs to improve.
While we're not going to update kitchens and bathrooms this year (unless it eventually gets done piece by piece), I am on a mission to improve our credit scores, which used to be awesome until the kids came and credit cards got used.
Take Fitness Classes
I'm an outdoor runner kind of gal. I don't commit to classes. But I think I want to. Especially now with a bump, I want to keep moving.
Watch More TV
This resolution from 2016 also was not a huge success, but I've since figured out the problem: We had 1 cable box! And my husband and kids dominate it. This fall, my husband insisted on a 2nd cable box in order to watch Ohio State during a big game with friends over. This has been a game-changer. The 2nd box is in my old office, now back to being a sunroom, so in my newly painted walls and furniture that we recently inherited, it's feeling quite cozy in there, and I've just started watching more HGTV! There is more TV I could watch myself and to bond with my kids, so will keep updates on this.
UPDATE 1/13/17: Over the Winter Break of 2016, I came down with a bad cold. This slowed me down big time, and I collapsed into chairs to watch whatever TV was on. In fact, if my kids were watching one show in the back room, I snuck away into the front room to watch my new subscription to Acorn TV. And the TV watching continues. My kids are currently hooked on Disney TV, and my daughter gets excited if I watch and get to know the characters.
Cook More Rice
This may be code for "Cook Different Things Other Than Creamy Pasta." Our refrigerator broke, so we got a new one and it's beautiful. This has been helpful in seeing vegies that I haven't eaten yet. However, our oven also broke, and we just got a new one on Black Friday. So 2017 will be a new year for cooking. Especially with my new oven's "Roast" feature! See, I already have a head start here.
Increase Income - Replace Husband's
Isn't this everyone's goal? But this year, there is more urgency because we want my husband home more. He commutes 4 hours every day, and it's getting hard. We need more breaks for him, or flexibility. His job is gig-to-gig, so it's not a regular 9-5 desk job. He works in the film/TV business as a location manager. While he loves it, he has yearnings to start his own entrepreneurial thing. Therefore, I need to look at my numbers to set goals. Once all goals are visualized, I will set strategy for how to get there and maintain it.
Start In-Person Events for Tin Shingle
For years, members in New York have asked for this. The hang-up was that people who don't live in New York would ask me: "Do I need to live in New York to be a member?" No! It's a training and support program based online that works anywhere. So, I will start this in January, and figure out how to make it clear and inclusive of folks who don't live in New York. But even classes - I aim to offer in-person classes in 2017 from my new office.
Hiring Someone at Tin Shingle
In addition to Jackie (newsletter production, media contacts, other awesome projects), Shayne (lead developer of Tin Shingle's website) and Ashley (editorial calendars), I need a boots on the ground type of person who is very involved with Tin Shingle's membership. Someone who can take members through an orientation and possibly lead a PR Challenge call.
Pitching the Press and Marketing
Carrying this over from 2016. Success happened, but more needs to be done. The creation and participation of Tin Shingle's PR Challenge Group has been immensely helpful for me with this goal, and with others who have taken it. Therefore, Tin Shingle's PR Challenge will continue in 2017, as will my personal efforts.
PS: If you are a Tin Shingle Member, please share your 2017 New Year's Resolutions here in the Small Business Diaries! We will have TuneUps dedicated to them throughout 2017 to check back and see how we are all doing.